A survey analysis conducted by the European Institute of Studies on Prevention (IREFREA) determined that one out of 10 English or German female tourists have been subject to some kind of sexual harassment while visiting a destination in southern Europe. According to the international research team, sexual harassment and sex against one's will while on vacation have not received necessary attention considering how much is known about substance use and risky sexual behavior during vacation.

"In this article we have gone into detail with a broad sample on an issue that receives little attention in tourist environments: sexual harassment and sex against one's will," said lead researcher Amador Calafat from IREFREA.

"Research was conducted on English and German tourists because they are the most frequent visitors to southern Europe and it is easier to obtain results."

The research team headed by Calafat analyzed the responses of 6,502 men and women between the ages of 16 to 35 who were surveyed at airports in southern European locations including Crete, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

The findings of their analysis established that 8.6 percent of men and women who traveled to a tourist hotspot in the summer of 2009 experienced sexual harassment while 1.5 percent reported sex against their will. According the research team's report, "2.4 times as many women as heterosexual men claimed to have suffered from sexual harassment. However, gay and bisexual men showed similar levels to women and high levels of sex against their will."

"We're not talking about casual sex, but rather issues that show a correlation, so we must continue researching."

Calafat and his colleagues were also able to compile a list of possible risk factors and solutions for avoiding sexual harassment while on vacation. They determined that smoking marijuana and frequenting bars for the opportunity to have sex were the most significant predictors.

"With regard to sexual harassment, those who claimed to have suffered these practices the most were tourists who were visiting Mallorca and Crete, young, British, gay or bisexual, frequent drinkers or attracted to bars where people get drunk, or cocaine consumers," Calafat explained.

"The first preventive measure is to be aware that these problems exist, since we tend to always think positively about holidays. There are measures that depend on tourist destinations, which are often promoted as places with a high level of sexual permissiveness and advertise cheap alcohol. The venues themselves can also avoid these situations by adopting good management in accordance with already established standards."

Source: Mendes F, Lazarov P, Hughes K, Bellis M, Blay N, Calafat A. Sexual Harassment Among Young Tourists Visiting Mediterranean Resorts. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 2013.